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Drago Gajo: Jazz Internationalist

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It's said that music is the universal language. And even though it's considered an American creation, jazz music in particular is performed and enjoyed all over the world--including in the central European nation of Slovenia. For anyone who might be unfamiliar with Slovenia, it's one of the countries formed after the dissolution of the former Yugoslavia. Located at the northern end of the Adriatic Sea, Slovenia is bordered on the west by Italy, on the north by Austria, on the east by Hungary, and on the south by Croatia. In the center of the country lies its capital: ...


Jack Cooper: Mists - Charles Ives for Jazz Orchestra

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American composer Charles Ives (1874--1954) was an arts iconoclast in the vein of his contemporary poet Wallace Stevens (1879- -1955). Both men were successful business executives who profoundly changed American art as an avocation. Ive's music brimmed with an Americana that sounds slightly sepia-toned today, but that has not prevented it's subjugation as subject for jazz interpretation, another piece of Americana. Theo Bleckmann and Kneebody's Twelve Songs by Charles Ives (Winter & Winter, 2008) set the patrician insurance executive's sound on its ear. Now, noted composer and arranger Jack Cooper completes his near two decades old quest ...


U2: Songs of Innocence

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These days there is no other band that can polarize both critics and audiences alike than Irish band U2. Most of the time that's because of non-musical reasons that have accumulated through the years and the internet never forgets. The band always seems to cause heated debates that swell into fever pitch. Having reinvented themselves several times during their career the most constant thing about it is the constant change. And with each new record U2 seems to be taking bold new steps ahead as it was the unprecedented announcement to release its new record Songs of Innocence for free ...


Wayne Horvitz: 55: Music and Dance In Concrete

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Reviewed on LP, the only other option for this release is a digital download, but with the latter you won't get the sharp colorful booklet that includes photos of the corresponding dance moves, choreographed by Yukio Suzuki and Wayne Horvitz' detailed album notes. The album was recorded at an old military base, Fort Worden that is situated in a state park outside of Seattle. In fact, the Fort serves as an additional instrument, especially heightened by the inherent analog vinyl pressing. The premise for this production emanates from Horvitz' numerous electronics works transposed to dance, video, and performed by the ...


Welch / Chazav / Israeli Trio: Jazz from the Middle to the East: Songs from Tel Aviv

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Gilad Chatsav's third album, Jazz from the Middle to the East--Songs from jny: Tel Aviv, grabs you from the start. Not necessarily because of its musical ingenuity, but because of its diversity of styles and rhythms. The album features ten pieces, all original compositions by Chatsav, saving two by Welch as well as two arrangements ("Caravan" and “Ode to the Bay"). Gilad Chatsav teams up again with old friend and bassist Stewart Welch and is joined this time by Boston-based drummer Noam Israeli, who is carving himself a serious career in the United States. The interplay between the ...


Fred Marty: Ondes Primitives: Improvised Solo Pieces for Double Bass

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The debut album of French double bassist Fred Marty summarizes his musical experience and exploration through an entire spectrum, from classical interpretation to collaborative free improvisation. Marty employs the bass as an organic extension of his body, searching for an array of extended techniques that expand the instrument's timbral range. Each of nine pieces focuses on a distinct sonic property and acoustic palette, developing ideas in an intimate and usually patient manner, like a researcher who methodically studies aspects of the bull fiddle. He creates with the bow and other objects like drumsticks and chopsticks. A ...


Charlie Daniels Band at the NYCB Theatre at Westbury

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Charlie Daniels Band, Molly Hatchet and the New Riders of the Purple Sage NYCB Theatre at Westbury Westbury, NY September 13, 2014 Charlie Daniels is an American treasure. The 77-year-old singer/guitarist/violinist, who will celebrate his 78th birthday in late October 2014, has been writing and performing since the '50s. In 1964, Daniels co-wrote Elvis Presley's “It Hurts Me." During the early part of his career, he was a working Nashville session musician, playing on albums by, among others, Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen. In 1971, he recorded and released his first solo album, Charlie Daniels ...


Diva: A Swingin' Life

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What do you get when you have fifteen talented and swinging female jazz musicians in an orchestral setting? The answer, drummer Sherrie Maricle and the DIVA Jazz Orchestra offering A Swingin' Life as proof that hard-charging big band music is not the exclusivity of the male gender. Building upon the work of more than a dozen previous albums, DIVA presents music from the Great American Songbook and more, capturing eleven audacious tracks recorded live by Jazz at Lincoln Center at Dizzy's Club Coca Cola in New York and, at the renowned Manchester Craftsman's Guild in Pittsburgh. Adding to ...


Jan Granlie: My Favorite Things - Jazz Photos 2004-2014

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My Favorite Things--Jazz Photos 2004 -2014 Jan Granlie 182 Jazz og Sånn 2014 Norwegian photographer, writer and editor Jan Granilie has an intimate and through knowledge of the history and almost everyone that is involved in the Nordic and European jazz scenes. He edited the Norwegian jazz magazine Jazznytt for several years and is now the editor of the jazz website Salt Peanuts. Granlie wrote countless reviews on albums, gigs and European festivals and photographed almost any gig that he attended. Or, as he summarized the experience so far, in his characteristic ...


The Old 97s: Most Messed Up

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How great is it to discover a band that has been here all along? The Old 97s are nothing new. Coming together in Dallas in 1993, the popular quartet led by the aptly-named Rhett Butler has recorded 15 studio CDs since 1994's Hitchhike to Rhome (Idol Records). The band emerged as part of a larger resurgence in alternate-Americana/Country music that included Son Volt, Uncle Tupelo, Son Volt and The Bottle Rockets. Imagine my surprise when I reviewed Blackberry Smoke's The Whippoorwill (Southern Ground, 2012) thinking it was the Second Coming of Southern Rock when ...


Luke Paulo And The Grapefruit: Mirrors

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The lights dim. A figure steps onto the stage holding a guitar. He wears a dark suit and a fedora hat and sings his own melancholy lyrics in a deep, lugubrious voice. Could it be...? Well, of course not. This is a small club in the vastly unhip English city of Reading, in turn part of the appropriately named county of Berkshire. Leonard Cohen wouldn't be seen dead in a place like this. But, as he turns 80--unlikely as it may seem--the Old Groaner appears to have given birth to what's known in the trade as a ...


The Led Zeppelin Papers: Led Zeppelin III, Deluxe Edition

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Led Zeppelin II was the second element of the musical binary epoxy that hardened the reputation of the band after the release of Led Zeppelin. “Sonic crunch" is an apt description of II while Led Zeppelin III takes a hard right into new (and, perhaps, unwelcome) territory. Led Zeppelin Led Zepplin III, Deluxe Edition (Atlantic Records) 1970/2014 I keep nursing this love-hate attitude toward Led Zeppelin. Partly from genuine interest and mostly indefensible hopes, in part from the conviction that nobody that crass could be all that bad, I turn to ...


Live From Birmingham: Benjamin Booker, Grey Wolf & Blondie

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Benjamin Booker O2 Academy September 6, 2014 Usually, audience demographics are spread closely in line with the age of a performer, but such things were not predictable at Stateside bluesman Benjamin Booker's gig. Although born in Virginia, this 25-year-old singer/guitarist now dwells deep down in New Orleans, adopting many of the traits commonly exhibited by gnarled oldsters three times his age. The crowd in the venue's smallest room (Academy 3) looked to be three-quarters in the forties-and-above age range, with the remainder being around the late-teens or early-20s mark. Curious. Or maybe not ...


The Meter Men at the Ogden Theater, Denver

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The Meter Men Ogden Theater Denver September 11, 2014 Funkify your life Get on down You can be the funkiest one In your town That pretty much sums up the philosophy of the Meters and now the Meter Men. In the song “Funkify Your Life," they seem to be offering a suggestion for a lifestyle, or at least an attitude. And a noble suggestion it is. Certainly, we could all use a little more funk and a little less... uptightness, or something. Get syncopated, baby! Just keep in mind, ...

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